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Author Topic: Help! - Cleaning LOTS of burr comb  (Read 1843 times)
hicobee
New Bee
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Location: Highland County,Virginia


« on: June 26, 2005, 05:11:05 PM »

I have 2 new hives of Buckfast bees that are in dire need of straightening out - way too much burr comb -everything is burred!

I previously lost two hives of Italian/Russians during this past winter - unsure as to why - both hives still had sufficient honey. I had read that you could feed honey to new hives instead of syrup. So I did what was suggested - placed several frames (I use 8-frame hives because I am physically not able to lift full 10-frame supers!) above an empty super (over the deep hive body). The first check showed the queens both laying well and the bees working well filling the deep frames and moving the honey down. There was some burr comb that I cleaned out. Shortly following this inspection a bear wandered in and ripped up one of the hives - demolishing nearly all of their comb, brood and supplies. The other hive only got a knocking about. I managed to get the ripped up hive back together (VERY angry bees and many stings) and set up a solar electric fence. That was three weeks ago. Approaching the hives just brought the guards out from both hives to warn me off . Today I tried to work the hives and add supers, but the bees have filled almost all the empty space with comb, brood and honey!! There was several pounds hanging from the ineer cover. What to do ?? They are still very agitated - smoke helped, but not much. Got hit a few more times. Should I leave them? Rip their hives apart and get them regimented on proper frames? Put supers above the first inner cover and use another under the telescope?

Not having much experience - and not reading anything directly focused on this problem - I ask you all for advice. I am not looking to get honey this year but don't want to try and get any at all from these girls if they prefer to "build feral". A fine example of bad beekeeping. Sad
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2005, 05:32:59 PM »

If you have eight frames in a ten frame box, they will build in the empty space. If you are spacing the frames evenly across the box, they will fill in the extra space.

Perhaps first thing would be to cut the boxes down turning it into an eight frame super. You have to respect the bee space or they will close it up with comb. Any space larger than 3/8 inch will get burr comb. If the space above the frames to the inner cover is greater than that, they will fill it in.

That 3/8 inch space is for all around. Above the frame, below the frame, to the side of the frame.

If the space between the frames is too much they will tend to build cross comb in that space.
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hicobee
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Location: Highland County,Virginia


« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2005, 05:56:07 PM »

Thanks, Jerrymac!

 I am using 8-frame hive bodies - all the burred space is in the super that was placed on top of the #1 deep body and under the medium body with only 5 frames full of honey to feed the packages when I got them hived up. They have built comb everywhere and I am not too keen on destroying their entire hive again - post-Bruin!
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Barny
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2005, 02:18:50 AM »

One possibility as to all the burr comb.... don't criss-cross the honey super on top.  Meaning leave the frames all going the same way.  I know that if you cross it up they will leave weird looking burr.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2005, 04:39:12 PM »

I think some of it is genetics.  Some bees build beautiful combs with no help whatsoever and some cross comb and burr everthing no matter what you do.  But you can help them some.  I always crowd all the frames together in the center until they are drawn.  Spacing them out with one less comb in the supers if fine once they are drawn but when they are starting off, some need more guidance than others.
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Michael Bush
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